Tuesday, July 16, 2024
Advertisement
  1. You Are At:
  2. News
  3. India
  4. Women, children main targets of foreign-funded religious conversions, PIL petitioner tells SC

Women, children main targets of foreign-funded religious conversions, PIL petitioner tells SC

The situation is alarming as many individuals and organizations are carrying mass conversion of socially and economically underprivileged and SCs-STs either by use of force or by allurement thus exploiting their poverty,” the PIL said.

Reported By: PTI New Delhi Updated on: December 11, 2022 23:15 IST
PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay referred to the legal
Image Source : PTI PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay referred to the legal vacuum on the issue of religious conversion and said that this has led to the deployment of 'unethical predatory conversion strategies.'

Delhi: Women and children are the main targets of 'foreign-funded' religious conversion in the country and the Centre and state governments have failed to take appropriate steps to check it, the Supreme Court has been told. In a written submission filed before a bench of Justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar which is hearing a plea against religious conversions, PIL petitioner Ashwini Upadhyay referred to the legal vacuum on the issue and said this has led to the deployment of “unethical predatory conversion strategies” to convert socially and economically backward citizens.

“Call upon the Law Commission of India to suggest suitable legislation and Guidelines to check unlawful fraudulent religious conversion,” the plea stated. It also sought direction to the Centre and states to take steps to confiscate ‘benami’ properties and disproportionate assets of persons and institutions involved in 'fraudulent religious conversion.' “Petitioner submits that women and children are the main target of foreign-funded missionaries and conversion groups but the Centre and the States have not taken appropriate steps to control religious conversion in the spirit of Article 15(3).

The situation is alarming as many individuals and organizations are carrying mass conversion of socially and economically underprivileged and SCs-STs either by use of force or by allurement thus exploiting their poverty,” it said. Referring to IPC provisions, it said, injuring or defiling a place of worship, deliberate and malicious act to outrage religious feeling, trespassing on a burial place or hurting religious sentiment etc. are considered as offences related to religion. “However, religious conversion by intimidation, threats, luring through gifts, monetary benefits and by inducement; which are more serious offences relating to religion are not covered under Chapter-XV of the IPC,” it said.

Wrongful religious conversion directly offends the right to life, liberty and dignity guaranteed under Article 21, it said. “But, due to a legal vacuum, unethical predatory conversion strategies are commonly used in Delhi to convert socially and economically backward citizens. One method is material enticement by which economic, educational, medical or social assistance is offered on the condition that the person converts; another is the denigration of the person's religion to make a new religion appear superior…Predatory proselytization tears apart the fabric of the communities where it occurs and has led to social disorder and unrest,” it said.

The top court has been hearing the PIL seeking direction to the Centre and states to take stringent steps to control fraudulent religious conversion by "intimidation, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits." The Centre had told the court it was collecting information from states on religious conversion through such means and sought time to furnish detailed information on the issue. "The purpose of charity should not be conversion. Allurement is dangerous," the top court had said, and acknowledged that forced religious conversion is a very serious matter.

Upadhyay submitted in his plea that forced religious conversion is a nationwide problem which needs to be tackled immediately. "The injury caused to the citizens is extremely large because there is not even one district which is free of religious conversion by 'hook and crook'," the plea submitted. "Incidents are reported every week throughout the country where conversion is done by intimidating, threatening, deceivingly luring through gifts and monetary benefits and also by using black magic, superstition, miracles but Centre and States have not taken stringent steps to stop this menace," said the plea filed through advocate Ashwani Kumar Dubey. The plea has also sought directions to the Law Commission of India to prepare a report as well as a Bill to control religious conversion by intimidation and through monetary benefits.

ALSO READ | Uttar Pradesh: 10 arrested in forced religious conversion in Fatehpur

Advertisement

Read all the Breaking News Live on indiatvnews.com and Get Latest English News & Updates from India

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement